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The Luck of the Draw: The Role of Lotteries in Decision Making [Hardcover]

Peter Stone
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £35.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

5 May 2011
A prominent scholar once noted that lotteries in politics and society—to break vote ties, assign students to schools, draft people into the military, select juries—are "at first thought absurd, and at second thought obvious." Lotteries have been part of politics since the Greek and Roman times, and they are used frequently in American politics today. When there is a two-to-two vote tie for prospective school board members, officials will often resort to flipping a coin (as happened recently in California). And in military drafts, the conventional wisdom is that random selection is far more just than non-lottery drafts. Northerners rioted against the perceived injustice of the non-random draft during the Civil War, and Americans by and large believed that student deferments subverted the justice of the draft during the Vietnam War.

Over the years, people who study and practice politics have devoted considerable effort to thinking about the legitimacy of lotteries and whether they are just or not under certain circumstances. Yet they have really only focused on lotteries on a case-by-case basis, and no one has ever developed a substantial and comprehensive political theory of lotteries. In The Luck of the Draw, Peter Stone does just that. Examining the wide range of arguments for and against lotteries, Stone comes to the startling conclusion that lotteries have only one crucial effect relevant to decision-making: they have the "sanitizing effect" of preventing decisions from being made on the basis of reasons. Stone readily admits that this rationale might sound absurd to us, but contends that in many instances it is vital for people to make decisions without any reasoned rationale to compel them. Sometimes, justice can only be carried out through random selection—a fundamental principle of the practice of lottery that Stone comes to call "The Just Lottery Rule." By developing innovative ways for interpreting this pervasive form of political practice, Stone provides us with a foundation for understanding how to best make use of lottery when making political decisions both large and small.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (5 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199756104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199756100
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 2.3 x 16.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,430,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Stone does a wonderful job in unifying the discussion of scarce good lotteries under the umbrella of impartiality. ... the implementation of general criteria of justice ... is enough to make (David Teira, Journal of Economics and Philosophy)

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an excellent read.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Footnotes not linked in kindle 8 Jan 2014
By Kai Sp
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is not a comment about the book but about the quality of the Kindle edition: be aware that the footnotes are not hyperlinked, which makes reading this book carefully on a kindle almost impossible. (Also, no page numbers, but that's a common problem on Kindle, of course.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly presuasive; food for thought 18 Oct 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For the first time in nearly 400 years, since the publication of Gataker's 'The Nature and Uses of Lots' in 1619 have we got a guide to the subject. Drawing on a wide range of historical sources and with a wealth of practical examples, Peter Stone has given us the definitive guide to using lotteries to ensure fairness in our transactions with each other, but most importantly with those who 'rule' us.

We are supposed to live in a democracy, but it is obvious that the power of corporations and money over-rule. To get back to, or more realisticly, to achieve democracy we need an independent unbiased arbitrator. Only random selection and allocation -- a lottery -- can bring us Democracy such as the ancient Athenians would recognise.

This book is the definitive guide to 'democracy by lottery'.
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